Hayati, meaning “my life” in Arabic, reflects on photographer Karim El Maktafi’s dual identity as a second-generation Italian born to Moroccan parents. The images were taken in both Italy and Morocco, and are all shot on an iPhone SE [Special Edition] – for a couple of reasons.
El Maktafi got into image-making via smartphones as a teen, after using them to take photographs of his friends. After graduating from the Italian Institute of Photography in 2013, he decided to return to the device with a more trained eye, when he decided to shoot Hayati.
He also uses a smartphone camera is because it’s less intrusive. El Maktafi’s family were against him photographing them, and in general don’t approve of photography as a career, which is why their faces are either cropped out or disguised by rays of light in the project. Using a smaller camera proved gentler way to record them, and the many other people involved.
Luke Richard’s project Under Black Sun reflects on the rise of far-right politics in contemporary Italy through the concept of the New Man – a form of idealised masculinity created by Mussolini during his reign as dictator, and propagated through various forms of meticulously controlled media. Appropriating the virile symbolism and values of Ancient Rome, the New Man model drew on Rome’s imperial history to whip up support for the New Italy that was to be delivered under a Fascist government – a pattern Richards believes resonates today.
Now in its third year, the Sicilian photo festival is tackling big issues under a theme of “Communication in uncertainty and chaos”. The idea is telling of its locale: a crucial crossing point in the Mediterranean and an entry gateway to Europe, Sicily has been at the centre of the migrant crisis as people cross the sea in search of peace and a better life. The photographs in this series cover ideas of identity, politics, war, nationality, feminism and more.
“Breaking onto a dance floor with a large format camera and a portable photography studio, as in my case, paralyses everything that happens,” says Jesús Madriñán, a Spanish photographer whose nightlife photos document the 21st century youth in different communities across the world. He is looking for an unique authenticity from his participants: “For me that’s really interesting: it gives them the opportunity to express themselves in front of the camera and in front of the eyes of the others.”
As Italy emerged from World War II in the 1960s and 70s, the country found itself in need of reinvention. With the shadow of Mussolini and fascism looming large, the country set out to rebuild itself economically, culturally and socially. Out of this period of great transformation and uncertainty came the avant-garde designs by architects from the Radical design movement. These architects, constrained by what they saw as the limits of post-war modern design, wanted to redefine the role of architecture in society. Inspired by the opportunity for experimentation, many viewed discotheques as an ideal vehicle for their creative drives. Innovative architects like Gruppo 9999, Superstudio and UFO designed a number of nightlife spaces that opened across the country. Radical Disco: Architecture and Nightlife in Italy, 1965 – 1975, is currently on show at the ICA until the 10th January and displays photographs from this fruitful, if brief period in Italian culture. As Sumitra Upham, co-curator alongside Catherine Rossi, tells BJP, the architects saw discos as an ideal avenue for the new ideas they wanted …
“It was inconceivable to my father that he would end up with a son who wanted to pursue a career in the arts,” says photographer Lorenzo Moscia. Like many of his father’s generation in Italy, having lost nearly everything to the Second World War, the aftermath thrust him into manhood, and having to provide financial support to his struggling, large family of siblings. By the time his father had become a grown man himself, married, with a child of his own, he had worked tirelessly for many decades. So it’s not surprising that Lorenzo, his only child, would be raised to prize hard graft. Lorenzo’s upbringing in Rome was fairly typical, albeit lonesome – a constant quest for friendships. His parents relocated within Rome when he was 11, and he suddenly found himself starting a new school across town – the local Catholic school – surrounded by nothing but male priests. “It was the longest period of boredom I have ever experienced,” he says. This was alleviated somewhat by his parents’ purchase of a VHS camcorder in …